Packard Children's opens new clinic

Children in the South Bay suffering from asthma, acne, abdominal pain and many other conditions can now receive specialty care from Lucile Packard Children's Hospital physicians without traveling to Palo Alto. The hospital's new South Bay Specialty Center in Los Gatos houses 13 sub-specialties in a new, child-friendly building with all the hallmarks of its parent institution.

"We're very excited," said Gary Hartman, MD, Packard Children's chief of regional pediatric services. "Travel is a huge issue for many families in the South Bay. We can say, 'It's just 20 miles to Packard Children's,' but that distance can be out of reach for parents without a car." Adding a second site for many of the hospital's specialty clinics is also expected to reduce wait times for appointments and increase patient capacity.

This is not the first time Packard has reached out to the South Bay. The hospital's Bascom Avenue clinic, which closed when the new center opened, provided urology, pulmonary medicine and endocrinology/diabetes services, as well as general surgery consultations, to children in San Jose and surrounding areas.

The South Bay Specialty Center, located at 14777 Los Gatos Blvd. near Highway 85, includes these sub-specialties as well as allergy, audiology, dermatology, gastroenterology, neurology, nutrition counseling, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, plastic surgery consultation and rheumatology in a building very near the old clinic.

"Geographically, we haven't moved far," said Hartman, "but this is a huge leap forward in terms of the types of services we offer."

The new center occupies a building designed with waiting areas stocked with activities for children, exam rooms with toys and small, kid-sized chairs, and bright and cheerful colors. "We're testing many ways to make the clinic very user-friendly," Hartman said.

The center's first patients arrived on Oct. 1. Services will open throughout October and November until the center is fully operational.